The Women’s Policy Group Northern Ireland is a platform for women working in policy and advocacy roles in different organisations to share their work and speak with a collective voice on key issues. It is made up of women from trade unions, grassroots women’s organisations, women’s networks, feminist campaigning organisations, LGBT+ organisations, support service providers, human rights and equality organisations and individuals.
Over the years this important network has ensured there is good communication between politicians, policy makers and women’s organisations on the ground. It published the Women’s Manifesto in 2016 enabling women to highlight their priority issues to all political parties. This document has been very useful in opening up dialogue with parties and helping them to make better party policy when it comes to women’s rights and equality. This work continues and a new women’s manifesto was launched in April 2023 for the Local Council elections.
In 2017 the group wrote a comprehensive briefing paper on the negative impact of the two child tax credit cap and the rape exemption. This document was widely shared and helped inform the public debate on this harmful, regressive policy. Women’s Policy Group also works closely with the NI Women’s Budget Group, ensuring that the link between policy and budgetary decisions is well understood and providing a joined up gender analysis of both.
The group published a new Women’s Manifesto for the 2019 General Election which greatly expanded on the demands in the 2016 manifesto. In addition to this, the Women’s Policy Group submitted a joint response to the NIO’s Abortion Framework Consultation. Following the return to Stormont in January 2020 the WPG have sent a letter ot the Secretary of State for NI to request a meeting, you can read the letter here.
The Women’s Policy Group fundamentally oppose anti-trans policy making. Trans women are women, and they are amongst the most marginalised groups of women in our society. We reject the removal of trans rights being framed as the protection of women’s rights. In June 2020 the WPG campaigned against anti-trans proposals made by Liz Truss MP. You can view the letter we sent to the UK Prime Minister here, the letter sent to MPs here and our statement of support for trans communities here.
Given the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women globally, the Women’s Policy Group have prepared a COVID-19 Feminist Recovery Plan for Northern Ireland. This plan sets out WPG recommendations for recovering from COVID-19, as elected representatives and decision-makers must take into consideration the institutionalised inequalities that exist, and co-develop recovery planning with the communities affected. These recommendations will cover economic justice, health, social justice, equality, the implications of Brexit and examples of international best practice.
The full WPG Feminist Recovery Plan can be downloaded here. You can download individual chapters on Economic Justice, Health, Social Justice and Culture. You can read a summary of the recommendations here. You can read our key briefing on a Bill of Rights here.
In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine the WPG sent a letter to all NI MPs urging them to raise questions in parliament about improving provision for refugees.
Women’s Policy Group meets monthly and new members are always welcome. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information. The terms of reference for the group are available here.